Last month, I wrote about how I was partnering with Run Across America and taking the Winter Warmup challenge where I committed to running 50k before the March 14 deadline. Here’s what: I finished the 50k and then….committed to another 50k. I initially wanted to set a 100k goal but with the demands of daily life combined with potential winter weather (I’m not running if it’s well below freezing outside. Full stop.), I played it conservative. Then I blew those first 50 of the water, completed another 50, and learned some valuable lessons along the way.
- We’re Not Going to Do “All the Things” All of the Time: After I finished the first 50k, I was dead set on completing the next 50 well before the deadline. But as we all know, life gets in the way sometimes. The things that need to get done compete with each other on a daily basis and sometimes our next day’s to-do list grows more than we’d like. I learned to not beat yourself up about what you didn’t get done, but celebrate yourself for the things you did accomplish.
- Running at Night Doesn’t Have to Be a Deal-Breaker: I prefer to fit my runs in first thing in the morning. That doesn’t always happen. In fact, in the past few weeks, it barely happened. Because of my family’s schedule, I didn’t hit the road most days until 5pm, and though the sunlight is lasting a wee bit longer each day, my hour-or-so-long runs often weren’t done until after dark. And some evenings I didn’t even start until after dark. So, I bought this very inexpensive LED light reflective safety belt and though it gave me middle school safety patrol flashbacks, it gave me some assurance drivers could spot me. I’d rather run without it to be honest, but it can be so dark in some areas and I highly recommend this or something similar to increase your visibility because distracted drivers are prevalent in Newport. Nighttime was really the only time I’d run downtown too; there was an added safety factor running amid the illumined shops and restaurants which kept me nicely distracted as I got the job done.
- Find New Motivators: Although I’ve been wanting to do this for the past year, I FINALLY downloaded the Peleton app. Though best known for it’s cycling domination, the app, which is free for one month, has tons of other workouts beside outdoor running: indoor running, strength, yoga, stretching, boot camps, meditation and other workouts. You can see the playlist of each workout ahead of time too, which for me, is key to an enjoyable run. Before downloading the app, I also created new playlists on Apple Music to keep me going, and on other runs, I listened to podcasts (note: listening to true crime podcasts while running on quieter streets and areas can get pretty creepy).
- You Don’t Have to Be Amazing at Something to Be Amazing at Something: Many years ago, I was at a wine festival when one of the vendors told me in a hushed voice, “Do you which wine is the most important wine at this entire festival?” “No,” I answered, stirred with curiosity. “It’s the one you decide you like the most.” His point was, it wasn’t about the competition or the preferences of others. When I run, I’m not checking my apps constantly to evaluate my pace because personally, that’s not my measure of a successful run. I’m looking at the surfers gliding down the face of a solid wave at Ruggles. I’m watching the sun’s last rays of the day cast a rosy pink light along Newport’s eastern shore from Esplanade in Middletown. I’m watching the servers and bartenders through large glass windows hustling along at a harmonious pace, maintaining a sense of normalcy in a decidedly unnormal time. For some runners, always shooting for a personal record is a driver, but you can still be a “runner” even if mile splits aren’t important to you.
- Don’t Underestimate Yourself: Maybe I should have gone for 100k all along, because it’s DONE.